After helping thousands of people over several years by providing lodging on the medical campus, Bartlett Regional Hospital Foundation passes a milestone as it transfers ownership of its flagship project to the hospital board of directors.
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The Bartlett House has provided a low-cost bed and pillow for more than 10,000 people who needed temporary lodging while being treated or accompanying a patient in treatment at the hospital.
Its eight rooms located just across the driveway from the hospital emergency entrance will continue to serve those in need as Bartlett Regional Hospital takes over its management.
The project opened in 1999 at a cost of about $600,000. With the mortgage paid, it's time to transfer it, foundation Executive Director Charlotte Richards said. She moved her office out of the building as her board approved a resolution Dec. 31 that passes ownership on.
"It's like watching your children graduate from high school and go to college," Richards said Friday as she finished packing. "You'll miss them terribly, but at the same time you're pushing them out the door."
The transfer will be finalized after being received by the Juneau Assembly.
The move marks a milestone for the foundation, which was formed in part to tackle the problem of housing for family members of sick patients. The nonprofit organization built, furnished and ran the hotel, while hospital admitting staff arranged reservations and took payments. Room rentals were $45 a night in winter and $60 a night in summer.
Hospital staff will continue its previous role and take on maintenance and house cleaning needs.
Now the foundation can move on, and the 12-member board meets this month in a retreat to prioritize new projects.
One endeavor involves scholarships for medical students that will be supported by a recent $300,000 legacy gift from the estate of longtime Juneau resident Grace Edleman.
Bartlett House's first lodgers were mostly summer tourists but as surrounding community members travel more to Juneau for medical care, more Southeast residents use the building for overnight stays, said Garth Hamblin, chief financial officer for the hospital.
"There's a lot of support in the region for this service, to have the ability for someone to stay on the hospital campus while arranging sometimes complicated ferry trips home," Hamblin said.
Over the years, people from around the world stayed at the quasi-hotel. A baby was born there, and one time a couple from Texas was so grateful to have the service, they donated several thousand dollars on their departure.
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